Fantasy Reaction: Will Fuller Signs with the Miami Dolphins
Coming into 2020, Will Fuller V had all the makings of one of the greatest “what if” stories in sports. What if he could stay healthy? Last year, we saw a glimpse of those possibilities before a suspension cut his season short but he gave us a very real reason to be excited. The 2021 Texans have all the makings of an actual trainwreck, so Fuller’s contract ended at the perfect time. It took a little while, but Fuller found his new home in Miami, on a one-year, $10.6 million “prove it” deal. There may not be a player worse suited for that kind of deal in the entire league but Miami may have gotten the deal of the century if this works out.
The Highs and Lows
Injury-prone is a term that gets thrown around far too much in football. Just four years ago, Keenan Allen was being called injury-prone and he has played in 62 of 64 games since 2017. Fuller might be worthy of those dirty words. During that same four-year span, Fuller has played in just 39 of those 64 games and has not played in more than 11 games in a season since his 2016 rookie year. Now, to be fair, his 2020 was cut short for violating the league’s PED policy, and we were not given many details as to what happened, but it’s just another “what if” added to his career.
The reason anybody cares “what if” is because of what Fuller has done when he is on the field. In those 39 games, Fuller has caught 162 balls for 2475 yards and 22 TDs. On a per-game basis, that’s four catches for 63 yards per game and a TD every other game. Over a season, it’s a 64/1024/8 stat line. That’s 182 fantasy points and good for a fantasy WR2 season just about any year. The kid has amazing potential and that legend only grew in 2020. In just 11 games, Fuller finished as the WR28 with almost 900 yards and eight TDs. He was pacing as the WR5 before the suspension. When he is on the field, he is a threat to score any time he touches the ball and just plain great for fantasy. The key: when he is on the field.
What If We Don’t Have to Wonder “What If” Anymore
While his 2020 was shortened, there is hope in the fact that it was not shortened by injury. Hopefully, he got past whatever it was that got him suspended and we can just move on. Miami seems like a match made in heaven for Fuller. At the very least, he will be the 1b to DeVante Parker‘s 1a, but he is clearly talented enough to be the WR1 on this team. Parker has been up and down in his career too, so it’s not as if he has a stranglehold on the role. As mentioned before, Fuller was pacing as the fantasy WR5 last year and it’s not as if Houston was throwing the ball on every play. The Texans finished with 546 pass attempts last year, 13 fewer than the Dolphins. Miami is a good team but they will still throw at least as much as what we saw in Houston last season.
The change in QB is a bit of a concern…for now. There is really no comparing Tua Tagovailoa and Deshaun Watson at this point in their careers. One is one of the best five QBs in the NFL, the other is Tua Tagovailoa. Tua had a rough rookie campaign that saw him benched in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick on more than one occasion. The Dolphins did not have many weapons, outside of Parker, so the addition of Fuller should help Tua improve as well. However, the Dolphins were already being linked to Houston as a possible trade partner for Deshaun Watson. If Watson is their QB in 2021, Fuller is a threat to finish as the WR1 in any given week and is a lock to finish in the top-10, if he stays on the field.
Dynasty Outlook: 2021 & Beyond
From a redraft perspective, it’s stock up for everyone involved, Tua, Parker, and Fuller himself. In dynasty, one-year deals complicate things. Players that tend to miss multiple games make it even worse. Because he is only there for one season, as of now, Fuller does nothing for the dynasty value of those around him. His own value is cloudy and he is best described as a “hold” right now. If you can land him cheap, think 3rd-Round pick and another asset, he might be worth it. His current manager is also unlikely to see the value in that trade. If you can move him for a late 1st, you have to make that deal, but your league-mates are unlikely to take that gamble. Thus, you must hold. It’s not all bad though.
If he repeats 2020, his value could skyrocket with his next deal and you may have one of the best 10 fantasy WRs sitting in your flex. If you’re trying to decide when to land Fuller in a dynasty start-up, The Fantasy Footballers have added a Dyntasy Pass to the UDK+ in 2021 and it will give you guidance on Fuller, and every player you’re thinking of drafting.